Heckler & Koch VP70

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Heckler & Koch VP70
Vp70z.jpg
VP70Z variant
Type Machine pistol
Place of origin  West Germany
Service history
Used by See Users
Production history
Designed 1970
Manufacturer Heckler & Koch
Produced 1970–1989
Variants VP70Z
Specifications
Weight 820 grams (28.9 oz) empty
Length 204 millimetres (8.0 in)
Barrel length 116 millimetres (4.6 in)
Height 142 millimetres (5.6 in)

Cartridge 9×19mm Parabellum
9×21mm IMI (VP70Z only)
Action Blowback
Rate of fire 2200 rounds/min (3-round burst mode)
Effective firing range 50 m
Feed system 18 round box magazine

The VP70 is a 9 mm, 18-round, double action only, semi-automatic/three-round burst capable polymer frame pistol manufactured by German arms firm Heckler & Koch GmbH. VP stands for Volkspistole[1][2][3] (literally "People's Pistol"), and the designation 70 was for the first year of production: 1970.

Design[edit]

It was the first polymer-framed pistol and predates the Glock 17 by 12 years. The weapon weighed 820 g (28.9 oz) unloaded, lighter than most other metal framed pistols of the time. Although the VP70 was the first polymer handgun, the Remington Nylon 66 rifle introduced in 1959 was the first polymer-stocked firearm in production.

VP70 with stock

One unique feature of this weapon involved the combination stock/holster for the martial version of the VP70. The stock incorporates a selector switch that, when mounted, allows selective fire. Cyclic rate of fire for the three-round burst is 2200 rounds per minute. When not mounted, the stock acts as a holster. The VP70 uses a spring-loaded striker like a Glock, instead of a conventional firing pin. It is double action only so the trigger pull is relatively heavy. In lieu of a blade front sight, the VP70 uses a polished ramp with a central notch in the middle to provide the illusion of a dark front post. Contrary to a common misconception, the VP70 does indeed have a manual safety. It is the circular button located immediately behind the trigger and is a common crossblock safety.

Variants[edit]

VP70Z with magazine.

The handgun comes in two varieties. The "Z" (Zivil, civilian) variant is a semi-automatic only version, and although it has no provision to mount the stock, it could be fitted after minor alterations to the handgrip (however this would not made it possible to use the 3-round burst firing mode); the "M" (Militär, military) variant is selective-fire (semi-auto / 3-round bursts). The VP70s were produced from 1970 until 1989. Four hundred VP70Zs were made in 9×21mm IMI; these samples were made primarily for the civilian market of Italy, where the use of the 9×19mm Parabellum is permitted only to military and law enforcement agencies. All of the VP70Z pistols sold to Italy had the provision to mount the stock, although it would still not allow the use of the 3-round burst firing mode.

Users[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kersten, Manfred; Schmid, Walter (1999). HK- Die Offizielle Geschichte der Oberndorfer Firma Heckler & Koch [The Official History of the Oberndorf Firm Heckler & Koch] (in German). Weispfennig. ISBN 978-3000050916. 
  2. ^ David Higginbotham. "The HK VP70 The First Polymer Framed Pistol". Guns.com. Retrieved 2013-11-10. HK says the VP [...] means Volks Pistole or People’s Pistol [...] This is where another (erroneous) name for the pistol comes from. Vollautomatische Pistole. 
  3. ^ Jack Lewis (12 September 2007). The Gun Digest Book of Assault Weapons. Gun Digest Books. pp. 250–. ISBN 978-1-4402-2652-6. Around 1970, Heckler & Koch developed the selective-fire VP70 (VolksPistole: People's Pistol) with the reported hope that it would be chosen to arm village militias in Vietnam. 
  4. ^ a b c Jones, Richard D. Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009/2010. Jane's Information Group; 35th edition (January 27, 2009). ISBN 978-0-7106-2869-5.